What do kids dream about today? If you ask a kid in 2013 to describe their ultimate fantasy adventure, what would it entail? Jailbreaking their iPhone on a day their parents are out of the house for hours? FaceTiming with the cute girl from across the street while she's getting dressed? Driving through the cockpit of an airplane with Vin Diesel? The point of this exercise is to try to figure out when, exactly, kids lost the ability to embrace adventure. When The Goonies came out 28 years ago today, kids didn't have iPhones or iPads or Angry Birds -- all they really had were their bikes, their friends and their imagination.
And they had The Goonies, an adventure flick that mashed up all of the wild and crazy adventure scenarios running through the minds of kids while they slept at night. Pulling one over on the angry older brother? Check. Using a map to locate buried treasure? Check. Pirates? Check. A first kiss with a hot older girl? Check. Befriending a monster? Check. Narrowly escaping a trio of bad guys by flying down an awesome (and convenient) water slide? Check. Saving your parents from financial ruin? Check. Doing it all with your best friends at your side? Check.
The Goonies wasn't just about being a carefree kid, it was about friendship and loyalty and what it means to take on a challenge that's so much bigger than you. It was about that time in your life when your friends are your friends, no matter who they are or what they look like. They may be idiotic and obnoxious and a little too obsessed with ice cream, but they always had your back and you had theirs.
When The Goonies hit theaters in 1985 it spoke to every single kid who yearned to do something more exciting than math homework after school. It changed them. It matured them. It made them want to get out of the house and ride around looking for an adventure. After my friends and I watched The Goonies for the first time, we didn't stop creating. Our imaginations devoured it. We came up with new games to play -- new activities, new rules and a completely new approach to having fun.
The best part of it all is that we did it together, as a team. Because if the film taught us anything, it was that no matter how different we all were, everyone had something they were good at. Everyone had something they could bring to the table. Chunk was a dufus who cared more about food than he did anything else, but he was soft and kind enough to befriend a hideous monster who'd eventually help him and his friends save the day. Data was completely obsessed with creating gadgets that only worked part of the time, but it's his gadgets that got them through some of the trickiest (and scariest) parts of their journey. Mouth didn't know when to shut up, but he was tough, gutsy and willing to tackle anything. Mikey was weak and had asthma, but he was smart and a great problem solver. He's the one who knew how to read the map. He's the one who convinced them to keep going.
The Goonies always convinced me to keep going. To keep dreaming. Sure, I have a different relationship with the movie now than I did when I was a kid, but that's okay. It's not nostalgia that has me revisiting it multiple times each year -- it's that special something. You know, the something you need when you need it. When I feel bad about myself or about what I haven't accomplished in my life, I watch The Goonies. Not because I want to pretend I'm 12 again, but because I want it to remind me of what's important. I want it to feed my imagination. I want it to inspire the next thing that I write to you.
I want it to remind me that being me is okay. That being me is awesome. And that maybe -- just maybe -- there's another adventure hiding around the corner.